The Book of Psalms Chapter Twenty-One Commentary by
Pastor Ron BeckhamA
Rejoice In The Lord
Verse 1: "O Lord, in Your strength the king will be glad, and in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice!" Historically, the king usually was the leader of a place and people, though differing titles may describe him (or her), such as president, chief, governor, lord or whatever. David, the king of his country, was the writer of many Psalms like this one, and he saw, as expressed in places like Psalm 110:1, that he, the lord of Israel, had a Lord who had a Lord, speaking of his own relationship with God the Son and God the Father. The Lord God was this earthly king's joy, and we can find that the Lord is our joy as well—it's a wonderful, enduring response of joy to recognize and accept that whatever "strength" we have and our own eternal "salvation" is from the Lord and not merely from ourselves. We can't do it, but He can—and does.
Verses 2-3: "You have given him his heart’s desire, and You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For You meet him with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine gold on his head." David speaks of our individual hopes and desires in Psalm 37:4, where he said—"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." In discussing this prayer, this Psalm, we should note that Psalm 37:4 is expressed in our lives this way: When we delight ourselves in our Lord and commit our way to Him, He gradually (and sometimes suddenly) modifies our desires to be HIS desire in us for what our lives should be. Our prayers become the Holy Spirit's prayers through us, benefiting us and those we pray for. "Good things" we may not have expected will come to pass from the Holy Spirit's prayers in us, and the "crown of fine gold" is a representation of the authority He freely shares with ordinary people like David, you and me.
Verse 4: "He asked life of You, You gave it to him, length of days forever and ever." Despite what some theologians have to say about Old Testament people and what they decided happens after we die, David firmly believed in life after death, eternal life for believers in the Lord. That's what he meant by "length of days forever and ever." He prayed for life and he was given life. When you place your trust in the One our generation refers to as the Lord Jesus Christ, your outward body may end up in a grave somewhere, but the real you will live forever.
Verses 5-6: "His glory is great through Your salvation, splendor and majesty You place upon him. 6 For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence." So many among us have the habit of clutching at what we have or might be able to get, holding onto it as long as we can. The Lord is not like that—He gives everything to those who will receive what He offers. He lives forever, we don't, but through faith, He offers us eternal life... He is pure and holy beyond our ability to comprehend it, and we are not, but He died so we can be forgiven... We are like a stained cup that nobody wants to drink out of, but He makes us clean and fills us with the breathlessly beautiful Holy Spirit... We became useless, yet He enlists us in His service, helping people we likely didn't even care about before. What He does is impossible for us, yet He does it in us, and we become "joyful with gladness" in the eternal "presence" of God.
Verses 7-8: "For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken. 8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; Your right hand will find out those who hate you." Scripture offers a curious blending of results and purposes in and through people like us. Millions benefit from a Scripture that might not be noticed by other faithful believers... Prophesies can have one fulfillment or multiple outcomes. As to the "king" in these verses—Are we hearing of David, Israel's king, who is with the Lord right now? Is this Scripture about the Lord Himself? Can it refer to all the faithful who, depending on your translation, have been made "kings and priests" to God (Revelation 1:6). One thing is certain: The one who "trusts in the Lord... will not be shaken." Initially and for a time we actually may be shaken, but God will bring us through and we will no longer be shaken when, in faith, we finally see who we are in Christ Jesus. And note that God knows precisely who and what we are. Outwardly, people often seem to be one thing but actually can be another. God KNOWS and He will bring His little ones into a victory of His own choosing filled with surprises that offer joy.
Verses 9-10: "You will make them as a fiery oven in the time of your anger; the Lord will swallow them up in His wrath, and fire will devour them. 10 Their offspring You will destroy from the earth, and their descendants from among the sons of men." Have you noticed that the Lord said, "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44)? Your enemy is under investigation, by the way, and needs your prayers. He or she is attacking one of God's kids, which is you when you have faith in the Lord. That person's sins (and yours) have been dealt with by the Lord Himself on the cross of Christ, and the potential for forgiveness is infinitely great. You should also be very interested in Matthew 6:12, a portion of the Lord's Prayer stating that your sins are forgiven IF you forgive the one(s) who hurt you. For them to go to everlasting hell because they did something you don't like is a terrible result for what they did; and to not forgive them is terrible for you, also. The Lord knows them and He knows you. Protect yourself, them, your descendants and theirs—make today your day of forgiveness.
Verses 11-12: "Though they intended evil against You and devised a plot, they will not succeed. 12 For You will make them turn their back; you will aim with Your bowstrings at their faces." More and more, I find that the daily news on the radio, television, computer or however else it's presented, is incredibly upsetting. Scriptures like Romans 3:23, alert us to the fact that "ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God." That's you, that's me, and humanity is in great trouble—all we have to do is turn on the daily news report and shockingly—there it is! But we don't have to be afraid. Yes, humanity is filled with those who are constantly devising plots against others. But though they may continue to do evil for a while, ultimately "they will not succeed," for God Himself gives His people the victory.
Verse 13: "Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your power." Notice that David begins and ends with praise to the Lord. Yes, this world, this life is confusing and difficult, and we so often don't understand, but that's where faith in the Lord can begin. We see David's heart in the Psalms and note that he was often terrified and dismayed by events greater than he was. But right now, in the Presence of the Lord, he is singing praise to the power and love of God. Let's rejoice in praise to the Lord like David did, for our Lord delivers us in HIS strength, and His salvation is—forever.
Father, I praise You. You have called me to do and to be what is too great for me, and I am sorry that I failed. The one who hurt me—I forgive them—in Your strength. Please fulfill Your will for my life and theirs. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.